Mount Olive cancels North Carolina Pickle Festival amidst pandemic
Posted January 21, 2021 9:09 p.m. EST
Mount Olive, N.C. — For the second year in a row, the streets of downtown Mount Olive will be quiet on the last full weekend of April.
Organizers of the 2021 North Carolina Pickle Festival today announced the cancellation of the event, citing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We decided it best to not hold a live, in-person event for 2021, given the continued severity of the pandemic and the slower-than-anticipated pace of vaccinations,” said Lynn Williams, who co-chairs the festival with Julie Beck. “The safety of festival goers, vendors, volunteers, and all of those associated with this beloved festival is of paramount importance.
“A year ago in mid-March, when we completely canceled the 2020 festival, we did not ever imagine that we would have a similar conversation for 2021. But, here we are.”
Beck said that she and Williams met with Town of Mount Olive officials in early December, and the consensus at that time was to plan for a modest in-person festival.
“Once we got past the holidays, we did not feel comfortable that if we planned the festival we would be able to have it in April,” Beck said. “We know we will eventually return, hopefully in 2022. But that is just not where we are now.”
Instead, the festival will present several virtual events, including an online pickle-eating contest. Others are an online recipe contest, the Cuke Patch 5K presented virtually, and locally, a drive-in movie. These activities will generally still fall on or near festival weekend, April 23-24, 2021.
“The virtual events will allow us to engage with pickle fans all over the country, so it gives us a chance to broaden the festival’s reach,” Beck said. “We are just beginning to work out the details, so we are asking everyone to follow us on our social media accounts, and to visit our new website when it debuts Feb. 1 at www.ncpicklefest.org.”